His bold spirit had come to him from his father's father and from that father's father, who had been of those hardy pioneers who had built the foundations of that great America of the north. Just such men as we need here in Amazonas to develop the equally great possibilities of this country....It was clear that he was swayed between obedience to the call of his father or to the call of his grandfather. But for only a minute. His spirit clung true to the demand for freedom and action that was his heritage.
Improbably, Featherstone joins our heroes in their pursuit of the pirates, determined not to let his son out of his sight. He's appalled to learn how Peloroxo has adapted to native ways in the jungle. "I don't know that I like all this pandering to heathen priests," he protests, "and I'm sure that your Uncle Malachi and Aunt Sarah would not approve." The old man warms to the action, however. In the heat of combat he cries out, "Gimme a gun. By golly, somebody gimme a gun and show me how to shoot it." Later, he encourages his boy with strong language, or at least the hint of strong language that editor Arthur Sullivant Hoffman allowed. "To the -- with the law," he says, "Go on and win your own fight, son." At the climax the student surpasses the master with his audacity and the peculiar martial arts of his people. "The art of striking with the fist as you gringos do does not come easily to us of the South," Theophilo confesses after describing his clumsy brawl with an enemy. In the end, Featherstone recognizes that his son, in a foreign land, has become more authentically American than he. "You have grown in this wide open unsettled country to be a man such as my father was when he took the trail out to our wide open unsettled plains." He also recognizes that this disqualifies Peloroxo from any position in the family firm; "I am afraid that you would be a most disturbing element in our settled ways of business." Worse, from the son's standpoint, "I'd die in the family factory." Everybody wins, however, since Featherstone goes home to put the family firm in the tagua business, with Peloroxo and Theophilo as his regular suppliers. While Theophilo is too obviously a mouthpiece for the author, he's still an entertaining personality in his own right, and the story has that something extra to it that may enhance both its entertainment and educational value over time.